Self-publishing – my journey

As some of you know, I published my first novel back in July 2020 via Amazon KDP Select.

I have received a gazillion questions about my publishing journey before & since I went live, and so I thought it might be interesting to do a bite-sized post now and again on how I have found the SP process.

If there’s interest in hearing more about my experiences (warts ‘n’ all), I can write a few more articles for you. Let me know in the comments if this would be useful.

Before we start, you should know that I am working on a shoestring: meagre investable income, A VERY limited marketing budget and zero prior publishing experience.

As you can imagine, this has drove almost all my “business decisions” around the book.

I hope to write a second book in the series this year and market and re-cover the two together using proceeds from book one. There is an element of speculate to accumulate in terms of getting a running start in the market place.

If you have the luxury of capital to inject into the process, it certainly will give you a way easier ride. BUT my first tip would be that you need to BEWARE of those along the way looking to flatter you with help.

The chances are you will have a beautiful end product in half the time; but the flip side is that you will have a much longer haul to go to before you break even.

That said, if you can find a specialist book placement company; whilst this will cost, your book will be in many markets – and if you are extremely motivated could tour doing book events to further draw in readers. This would be a dream for me and I hope to be able to pursue this option in the future.

Of course, your objective may not to be to make money; it may be that you would be happy to satisfy a lifelong dream of being a published author. This is also great. Just as long as you are clear and realistic about this; I would hate for you to be dis-heartened.

Finally – whilst my experience is unique to me, I found reading blogs like this really helpful and so I hope you do too.

My first bitesize blog topic this week will be:

In such a crowded market, can an unknown author make a break through?

A lot of ambition and determination and zero expectation is the best you can start with.

In many ways, lacking confidence can be a help because it is a real uphill struggle to get the word out there as an indie publisher and initially when you rely heavily on personal contacts, there is a fine balance between a natural desire to support a friend and when marketing crosses the line into SPAM. You know how you feel when your bestie gets involved with an MLM company, right? Friendships can be lost. And you better be sure you’ve got your draft as good as it can be before publishing.

Unfortunately, not all self-published authors are up to scratch. If you find a good SP author, be sure to write them an online review. It costs you nothing, but will make a huge difference to them in terms of future readers being prepared to give them a go based on your testimonials.

Why self-publish? Why Amazon?

I decided to go down the Amazon route partly because I am impatient and partially because of fear.

What do I mean by impatient?

Being my first novel, it took me literally years to get it from first to final draft, working sporadically by candlelight after work/between night feeds etc.

I mean IT IS a great book, but even I was getting sick of proofing it by the end! 😜

I know there are lots of snarky comments flying around about being THAT person who wrote a book during lockdown BUT I decided that if I wasn’t “that person” who published a book during lockdown, given that it was sitting there on my laptop all ready to go, I didn’t deserve to be an author.

I was loading up the pressure from myself to myself and getting more and more annoyed at my inaction.

I can be pretty impulsive out of fear that the moment passes, plus patience is not one of my virtues. Frankly, I just couldn’t face endless agent approaches and unsolicited mail to publishers when no one was at their desks, let alone wait the ten week non-response window.

Im also a realist. I’m not all that afraid of rejection in terms of feedback as I do believe that it can be a good thing to FAIL along the way (first attempt in learning). I just can’t bear nothing. It just feels like such a waste of time.

So, without further ado, I set about the mind boggling task of creating a cover as my first task….one for another day if interest.

Why did I have the fear?

Well, no one knew I wrote in my spare time apart from a couple of friends and family. To suddenly come out with a novel felt f’ing weird. I also hate talking about myself and am particularly bleugh about talking about writing for some reason. And because social media is king, I knew I would have to “come out” and be ready to bear my heart and soul.

But I just had to do or die. So I did it.

I hope this offers some insights into the early stages of my self-publishing journey.

I shall do a post on my experience of sales & marketing on a shoe string sometime soon!


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